Struggling corner infielder Luis Valbuena was designated for assignment by the Angels on Sunday morning, most likely ending his two-year stint with the team.
The left-handed-hitting Valbuena, known for his periodic power and amusing bat flips, was signed as a free agent after the Houston Astros let him go in 2016. He hit .199 with a .294 on-base percentage, .432 slugging percentage, 22 homers and 65 RBIs in 117 games last season.
But he hit only .199 with a .253 OBP, .335 slugging percentage, nine homers and 33 RBIs in 96 games this season, striking out 100 times and walking 19 times in 288 plate appearances. He had two hits in his last 26 at-bats. He also made eight errors in the field, two of them in Wednesday night’s loss in Tampa Bay.
“Luis worked very hard, and so did Eric and Pauley just trying to get him to find that rhythm,” manager Mike Scioscia said, referencing hitting coaches Eric Hinske and Paul Sorrento. “Historically, he’s a very hot-and-cold hitter. When he’s hot, he gets it going, when he’s cold, it’s not happening.
“They tried to work on some swing things through spring training and the start of the season to help him get more consistency. Unfortunately, that didn’t materialize. But nobody worked harder than Luis. We enjoyed when he was here. He just never got into sync like he did in the second half last year.”
Follow Mike DiGiovanna on Twitter @MikeDiGiovanna